For the third year in a row, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke to farmers at the Commodity Classic’s General Session. In his address, he outlined the major pieces of legislation he hopes to see in the 2012 Farm Bill.
Passing a new farm bill is a top priority for farmers across the country. Set to expire at the end of September, farmers could stand to lose access to vital federal farm programs if they are not renewed. In addition to funding, the farm bill offers farmers a broad guideline of national farm policy, allowing them to better predict costs and prepare for the upcoming year.
Vilsack acknowledged the importance of passing a new bill, stating, “The first and most important thing that we can do this year is to pass a farm bill and pass it now. This job of writing and passing an equitable farm bill is not an easy task, but waiting for 2013 is not going to be any easier.”
In addition, Vilsack identified two key goals the federal government should aspire to reach. Expanding crop insurance programs, Vilsack stated, was critically important, especially in light of recent cuts to other farm subsidy programs. In addition, Vilsack told farmers that the federal government needed to maintain export programs. Last year alone federal farm exports totaled more than $136 billion. Expanding this trade would be a major boon to the cash strapped federal government as well as farmers across the country.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer